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Meet the Adventurers of the Year: Oarsman Leven Brown

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-31-10 12:14 PM
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Meet the Adventurers of the Year: Oarsman Leven Brown
Meet the Adventurers of the Year: Oarsman Leven Brown

The Oarsman

Leven Brown and his team rowed across the Atlantic faster than anyone, ever.

The North Atlantic is not a kind ocean. So unpredictably wild and unforgiving are its seas that after a pair of Norwegians rowed across in 1896, their record stood for another 114 years. Jump to July 2010a two-man boat filled with four bearded oarsmen leaves New York and hits England nearly 12 days faster than the Norwegians managed. Its crew, a duo of Brits, a Faroese man and an Irishman, consists of Leven Brown, Ray Carroll, Don Lennox, and Livar Nysted. Their hands are cracked and swollen and their rears are so sore that sitting has become an exquisite test of pain management. They stand as often as possible. In all ways they are exhausted and havent slept more than two hours at a time in over six weeks. Their skipper, Leven Brown, relates how they pulled off such a voyage. By Ryan Bradley

The Kayaker

South African Hendri Coetzeeamong the greatest expedition paddlers of his generationkayaked the Nile from source to sea, twice, and undertook some of the longest and hardest waterways on Earth, often alone.

Until just a few months before his tragic death in December, it was very difficult to find much detail regarding the never ending adventure that was Hendrik Hendri Coetzees life. Thats just how the South African liked it: This is a man who told almost no one about his epic, record-breaking trip down the entire length of the longest river in the world, the Nile. But he also had friends, and a growing fan base. So Coetzee started a blog. As with everything he did, this was no half-hearted venture. Coetzee captured the excitement of his expeditions with wisdom and humor, his entries were insightful and heartfelt, and give us a glimpse into the mind of a true explorer.

His last trip, a first descent down the Ruzizi River, along the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, uncovered some of the steepest and largest volume whitewater in the continent. Just a few days in, Coetzee was euphoric:

I thought I had been to most of the big gorges in Africa but it turns out only to the known ones. To find myself in something of that scale, almost unknown, was worth every drop of sweat, every public bus ride, every fly infested nowhere border town I have invested time in, ever. Dwarfed by lush green mountains rising up to 3,000 feet above us, we were drawn in ever deeper with a constant eye on the banks for trouble, by the river with every foot of is relentless gradient.
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